The launch of the Government of Canada's next-generation data.gc.ca and the new Open Government Licence provide unprecedented access to re-use government data, and fulfills key principles of the G8 Open Data Charter.
Canada played an instrumental role in the development of the Charter and the principles are consistent with our Action Plan on Open Government.
The expansion of Open Government continues to be pursued through three main streams:
-- Open Data is about offering Government data in useful machine-readable formats to enable citizens, the private sector, and non-government organizations to leverage it in innovative and value-added ways.-- Open Information is about proactively releasing information on government activities to Canadians on an ongoing basis. By proactively making government information available, it will be easier to find and more accessible for Canadians.-- Open Dialogue is about giving Canadians a stronger say in government policies and priorities, and expanding engagement through Web 2.0 technologies.
Canada's commitment to Open Government is key to the federal government's efforts to foster greater openness and accountability. These efforts are intended to provide Canadians with more opportunities to learn about government and participate in the democratic process. By driving innovation and economic opportunities, and at the same time, creating a more cost effective, efficient and responsive government, Open Government will serve Canadians better.
In March 2011, the Government of Canada issued a statement outlining its commitment to expanding Open Government. It later released Canada's Action Plan on Open Government, outlining twelve concrete commitments along three streams:
-- Open Data, is about offering Government data in a more useful and machine- readable format to enable citizens, the private sector and non- government organizations to leverage it in innovative and value-added ways.-- Open Information, is about proactively releasing information, including on Government activities, to Canadians on an ongoing basis. By proactively making Government information available, it will be easier to find and more accessible for Canadians.-- Open Dialogue, is about giving Canadians a stronger say in Government policies and priorities, and expanding engagement through Web 2.0 technologies.
These three streams offer Canadians greater opportunities to learn about and participate in government, in the economy and in our democratic process.
How are we doing?
Data.gc.ca, the Open Data portal is part of the Government of Canada's efforts to drive innovation and economic opportunities for all Canadians. With this site, application developers can re-purpose data for commercial, research or community purposes to benefit Canadians in a variety of ways. Open Data is also about letting Canadians explore our data sets to find information that is of value to them.
Publishing data online in useful machine-readable formats is a Government-wide commitment. To date, over 20 federal departments and agencies have posted data to the portal.
Another example of progress in Open Government is a new searchable Expenditure Database, which for the first time, provides easy access and analysis of all government spending. The tool gives Canadians a quick picture of how Canadian taxpayers' dollars are spent and allows Parliamentarians to better analyse government expenditures.
Canada was one of the first countries to enact access to information legislation three decades ago. In 2006, the Government of Canada expanded coverage through the 2006 Federal Accountability Act. Canada has also led the way in proactively disclosing information about contracts, grants and contributions, and posting hospitality and travel expenses on the Web.
All institutions subject to the Access to Information Act are required to publish summaries of completed access to information (ATI) requests in both official languages on their websites. The new data.gc.ca will provide the ability to search summaries from a single location.
Additional improvements under Open Information include:
-- An ATIP Request and Buy Online pilot service which was launched on April 9, 2013 for several departments, including the Treasury Board Secretariat and Citizenship and Immigration Canada; and-- Measures taken by Library and Archives Canada to open three million pages of previously restricted Government of Canada archived records.
Open Dialogue is about engaging Canadians and giving them a strong say in Government policies, programs and priorities. It empowers citizens by providing more opportunities to participate in the Government's decision making, the economy and the democratic process.
-- Progress has been made in this area through Open Regulation which provides Canadians and businesses with a more transparent and predictable federal regulatory system. For more information, see the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan.
All departments and agencies are expected to engage regularly with citizens, and will work diligently to ensure Canadians are aware of any opportunities to participate in consultation activities.
Office of the President of the Treasury Board
and Minister responsible for FedNor
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat